Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere

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1 Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere Faster Downloads and Site Navigation, Less Bandwidth and Server Processing, and Greater Availability for Global Deployments What You Will Learn To address challenges associated with today s business-critical enterprise application deployments, Cisco, in collaboration with IBM, offers Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere Portal Express Version 6, an enterprise network architecture with best practices and implementation guidance that optimizes application availability, performance, and security and lowers application ownership costs. (See Figure 1.) IBM WebSphere is software that integrates enterprise applications across multiple computers using Web technologies. Enterprise applications are often deployed in a three-tier approach: client tier, middle tier, and data tier. WebSphere software manages the middle tier. IBM WebSphere Portal Express Version 6 is a document management tool and team and project collaboration portal that is widely used by many organizations. Web portals allow partners, employees, and customers to choose their user experience, with personalized applications based on role, context, actions, location, preferences, and team collaboration needs. IBM WebSphere Portal software provides a composite application or business framework and the advanced tooling needed to build flexible, service-oriented (SOA) based solutions, as well as the scalability required by organizations of any size. This document describes how Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere addresses the following business challenges for IBM WebSphere deployments through data center and WAN application optimization services from the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) and Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Software products: Application response time and bandwidth utilization over limited WAN connections Recovery time and point objectives for business continuity Application, server, network, and SOA security Reduced capital and operating costs for applications, servers, and networking The solution uses Cisco WAAS to provide performance benefits on the WAN and the Cisco ACE Module to reduce resource load on the servers. Individually, Cisco WAAS and ACE provide a unique benefit to the solution, and when used in conjunction as the solution becomes more complex, they provide additional gains. Cisco ACE reduces resource load on the servers by load balancing the data that is bound for the servers. Cisco ACE also provides Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) offload and TCP reuse functions. TCP reuse reduces load on the server CPU by reducing the number of TCP sessions that must be processed by the server. SSL offload reduces the load on the server CPU by allowing Cisco ACE, instead of the server, to terminate the SSL connection. Cisco WAAS provides performance benefits to the IBM WebSphere Portal application by optimizing All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 1 of 10

2 the traffic flowing across the WAN and caching data at the local Cisco WAAS device. The cached data reduces the amount of traffic flowing across the WAN and allows more transactions to occur by utilizing the recovered bandwidth. Specific tests of this solution showed up to 45 times faster downloads, 26 times faster site navigation, and 97 percent less bandwidth usage for IBM WebSphere deployments when paired with Cisco Application Networking solutions. Additional solution benefits include increased number of transactions processed and increased application security and availability. Figure 1. Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere Business Challenge In today s globally networked economy, enterprise application availability and performance are tightly linked to business success and profitability, and as a result application stakeholders are faced with new challenges. As applications are enhanced to automate new business processes and serve geographically dispersed user populations, increased complexity can affect service level and productivity. To serve a geographically diverse user base and reduce the cost of deployment, enterprise application deployments are likely to be run from a regional data center, serve users through Web browsers and standard Internet protocols, and use SOA to process data from diverse sources. This new business environment and associated application architecture intensifies four major IT challenges, each of which can be addressed by a strong enterprise network architecture using Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere: Application availability challenges: Increasing business dependence on fewer but larger applications deployed in a central location requires a more careful look at application architecture, including single points of failure and product stability, to achieve recovery time and point objectives. Application performance challenges: Limited WAN links and inefficient standard Internet protocols such as HTTP and Extensible Markup Language (XML) result in poor application performance and bandwidth utilization for global users. In addition, increased demand on large applications in centralized data centers results in overload on servers that slows application response time. Application security challenges: Significantly increased business risk results from application security breaches from malicious or innocent end users or SOA Web service requests that attack application, server, or operating system vulnerabilities. All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 2 of 10

3 Application ownership cost challenges: The increasing scope of application business logic and geographically and organizationally dispersed users, coupled with higher availably, performance, and security needs, requires a new approach to application support to keep costs in line with lean budgets. Given these significant challenges, it is increasingly important to turn to application-savvy infrastructure vendors, such as Cisco, whose solutions cost-effectively address today s businesslevel application and IT challenges, and who are committed to rigorous feature and system quality testing and global and local language support 24 hours a day and have a strong history of security expertise. (See Table 1.) Table 1. Application-Savvy Infrastructure Vendor Requirements for Today s Enterprise Application Deployments Requirements Strong application optimization solutions Minimized application ownership costs Rigorous feature and system quality testing Global and local language 24-hours-a-day support Outstanding security history and experience Strategic partnerships with application vendors Equally important is an application infrastructure vendor that partners with leading application vendors, such as IBM, to yield tested, documented, and validated joint architectures that optimize application availability, performance, and security and lower application ownership costs. Business Benefits The Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere solution offers optimized application availability, performance, and security and reduced deployment costs by providing application optimization services as described here. IBM WebSphere Application Availability Cisco ACE application optimization services for high availability: Cross data center load balancing: Efficiently routes end-user and Web services requests to the best available data center Application health monitoring: Continuously and intelligently monitors application and database availability Server load balancing: Efficiently routes end-user and Web services requests to the best available server Network platform health monitoring: Helps ensure continuity of business operations through mirroring of end-user transaction states across pairs of network devices IBM WebSphere Application Performance Cisco ACE and WAAS application optimization services for high performance: WAN optimization: Provides intelligent caching, compression, and protocol optimization that yields up to 45 times faster downloads, 26 times faster site navigation, and a 96 percent reduction in bandwidth usage (see Tables 5 through 7 later in this document) All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 3 of 10

4 Server offloading: Provides specialized hardware that offers greater processing efficiency for the application optimization services listed in Table 2, freeing application server processing and memory to focus on business logic computations Table 2. Service Services Offloaded from Servers by the Solution Description Cross Data Center Load Balancing Server Load Balancing SSL Termination TCP Connection Management Application Health Monitoring Traffic Compression Object Caching XML Schema Validation Provides site selection capability Shares load across available servers Increases termination of SSL connections Reduces number of TCP connections to server Helps ensure validity of server requests Increases throughput Reduces number of requests to server Increases number of schema validations per second IBM WebSphere Application Security Cisco ACE application optimization services for optimized data security: SSL termination: Efficiently encrypts and decrypts SSL-enabled traffic, which facilitates the use of intrusion detection and prevention solutions before traffic reaches the servers, reduces server CPU usage, and centralizes certificate management End-user access control: Provides access control lists (ACLs) to protect client-to-server traffic from worms and intruders that attack vulnerable open server ports not used by the application XML firewall: Examines SOA Web services requests for compliance with schemas and protects against identity, message-format, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks IBM WebSphere Ownership Cost Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere reduces application capital and operating costs through the following: Server cost reduction: Offloading of the application optimization services listed in Table 2 from servers to cost-effective network devices frees server processing and memory, allowing resources to focus on business logic computation. Networking cost reduction: Virtualization of application optimization services supplies the services listed in Table 2 for multiple IBM WebSphere servers as well as other enterprise applications (see Figure 2). All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 4 of 10

5 Figure 2. Virtualization of Application Optimization Services Operating costs reduction: Application optimization services reduce operating costs as shown in Table 3. Table 3. Operating Cost Reduction from Application Optimization Services Cost Reduction WAN Bandwidth Usage Server Power, Cooling, Space, and Administration Application Deployment Administration Description Up to 96% savings Increased cost savings Up to 250 virtualized application services Solution The Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere solution combines the Cisco ACE and WAAS platforms with the IBM WebSphere architecture to provide optimized availability, increased performance, enhanced security, and reduced cost of ownership. IBM WebSphere with Cisco ACE Within the IBM WebSphere architecture, scaling to handle more end users requires the addition of IBM WebSphere application server instances, which creates a need for load balancing. Cisco ACE provides server load balancing and SSL termination in addition to end-user access control, server health monitoring, and TCP connection management. Virtualization within Cisco ACE allows a single active-active pair of Cisco ACE products to serve multiple IBM WebSphere applications as well as other enterprise applications. Also, if Cisco ACE is already deployed in the data center, additional virtualized contexts can be added to accommodate new IBM WebSphere applications without the need to order and configure additional equipment. Additionally, Cisco ACE virtualized contexts can be created using Cisco ACE role-based access control (RBAC), which constrains the commands and actions for unique application, database, security, and systems management administrators. Cisco ACE comes prepackaged with a number of predefined roles, and others can be customized as needed. Cisco ACE specifically provides server load-balancing session persistence for IBM WebSphere through the cookie sticky methodology. Also, if the application architecture requires, Cisco ACE can decrypt SSL traffic for SSL offload and for intrusion detection and prevention. For end-to-end All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 5 of 10

6 security, Cisco ACE can then reencrypt traffic to the server. Because the database is typically a clustered single instance, Cisco ACE is not used at that part of the architecture. IBM WebSphere with Cisco WAAS Completing transactions on applications running on IBM WebSphere involves numerous components of the application architecture, including the client, application servers, database servers, storage hardware, networking hardware, LANs, and WANs. (See Figure 3.) Each transaction typically requires several steps that, when requested by a remote user, travel over the WAN and introduce network delay that slows end-user performance. When network delay is significant due to constrained or overburdened bandwidth, distance of users to servers, or a high number of steps to complete a transaction, end-user performance and bandwidth utilization improvement can be achieved through Cisco WAAS technologies such as data redundancy elimination (DRE), TCP flow optimization (TFO), and compression. When Cisco WAAS TFO was used with IBM WebSphere, tests showed significant round-trip time and bandwidth reduction, as described in the Testing section later in this document. Figure 3. Cisco Application Networking Architecture for IBM WebSphere Solution Deployment Cisco ACE, ACE XML Gateway, and WAAS reside in the data center and provide virtualized application optimization services for multiple IBM WebSphere deployments as well as other enterprise applications. Because of their unique location, these solutions can take intelligent action on end-user traffic before it is routed to the IBM WebSphere application servers, including load balancing, server health monitoring, SSL decryption, TCP connection consolidation, and security access control (see Figure 4). Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere provides these services cost effectively, freeing server processing and memory. All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 6 of 10

7 Figure 4. Data Center Application Optimization Services Cisco WAAS also resides in the branch office and can provide virtualized application optimization services for all application users in that location. The Cisco WAAS data center and branch-office deployments together offer a WAN optimization service through the use of intelligent caching, compression, and protocol optimization. When the IBM WebSphere application servers respond to end-user requests, the response is most efficiently passed across the WAN, with minimal bandwidth usage and maximum speed. Commonly accessed information is cached both at the Cisco WAAS solution in the branch and in the Cisco ACE solution in the data center, which significantly reduces the burden on the servers and the WAN. (See Figure 5.) Figure 5. WAN Application Optimization Services The recommended best practices and implementation guidance for Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere, including specific configurations for each Cisco network solution, can be found in the Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere Deployment Guide at All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 7 of 10

8 The Cisco ACE solution can be deployed in the data center as a module in the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches or as an appliance. Cisco WAAS can be deployed in the branch office as a module in the Cisco Integrated Services Routers or as an appliance. Testing Cisco, in collaboration with IBM, conducted a series of function, load, and performance tests over 3 months that resulted in the Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere architecture, best practices, and implementation guidance. Cisco WAAS Performance Testing Two types of user transaction tests were conducted: site navigation and document downloads using 512-KB and 1-MB Microsoft Word documents. An automated testing tool was used to simulate user transactions. Two simulated WAN links were tested to represent typical branch office to data center connections, as shown in Tables 4 through 7 and Figures 6 and 7. Table 4. Cisco WAAS for IBM WebSphere: Two Simulated WAN Links Description Bandwidth Round-Trip Latency Packet Loss Intracontinental Mbps 100 ms 0.1% Intercontinental 512 Kbps 200 ms 0.2% Table 5. Cisco WAAS for IBM WebSphere: Site Navigation Performance Improvement WAN Link Average Highest Intracontinental 16X faster 22X faster Intercontinental 15X faster 26X faster Figure 6. Performance for Site Navigation Is 22X Faster for Intracontinental and 26X Faster for Intercontinental Table 6. Cisco WAAS for IBM WebSphere: Document Download Performance Improvement WAN Link 1-MB Word Document 512-KB Word Document Intracontinental 45X faster 28X faster Intercontinental 26X faster 17X faster All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 8 of 10

9 Figure 7. Performance for Document Download on Intracontinental Link Is 45X Faster for 1-MB Word File and 28X Faster for 512-KB Word File Table 7. Cisco WAAS for IBM WebSphere: Bandwidth Utilization Improvement WAN Link Site Navigation Document Download Intracontinental 96% less 96% less Intercontinental 95% less 97% less From these results, it is clear that there are strong network performance benefits to be gained by adding Cisco WAAS in situations with geographically far-reaching IBM WebSphere deployments with high-latency or low-speed WAN connections. Representative summaries of test results for bandwidth utilization improvements for site navigation transactions without and then with Cisco WAAS show up to 96 percent decrease in bandwidth utilization. As with conclusions drawn from the performance tests, it is clear that strong cost savings can be achieved by deploying Cisco WAAS for IBM WebSphere for specific scenarios. Cisco ACE Function Testing Cisco ACE function tests succeeded and the deployed configurations were documented for these tests, which included the following features: server load balancing with persistence, server health monitoring, TCP connection management, and end-user access control. Statement of Cooperation Cisco and IBM cooperated in all phases of the Cisco Application Networking for IBM WebSphere testing, including lab setup at Cisco offices, solution function and performance testing, and solution overview and deployment guide documentation. Cisco and IBM jointly validate that the lab setup and solution testing represents best efforts in creating a realistic customer deployment and accurate documentation of such deployment. For Further Information All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 9 of 10

10 Printed in USA C /07 All contents are Copyright Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. This document is Cisco Public Information. Page 10 of 10

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